Derek Lomas and his associates at M.I.T. are working on a computer that Third World residents can buy for $12, according to the Boston Herald on Monday. Itis loosely based on the Apple II.
Most people are aware of the project by Nicholas Negroponte at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to build at US$100 computer for Third World kids, but Mr. Lomas and his team want to go one better.
Apple II (circa 1982)
"If you just know how to type, that can be the difference between earning $1 an hour instead of $1 a day," Mr. Lomas said at the recent MIT International Development Design Summit.
The 1980is Apple II was the inspiration for Mr. Lomas. "My generation all had Apple IIs that we learned to type and play games on," Mr. Lomas said. "If we can get buy-in from programmers, we can develop these devices and give (Third World) schools Apple II computer labs like the ones I grew up with."
His six member team has already recruited Apple II enthusiasts to help with programming. Their computer will add rudimentary Internet access.
"We think we can develop a really good educational tool that could give kids exposure to keyboards, typing and mouse usage at an early age," said Austin-Breneman, one of the other team members.
For kids who have never used a computer before, that may be all they need to get a start in the modern computer era.